There will be new regulations for parental benefits before the end of this year. These concern, among other things, earnings limits and exclusions. In addition, new regulations are planned regarding working after the birth.
Last but not least, the new regulations will ensure that parents of premature babies will no longer have to put up with negative effects on their finances. This article presents the new regulations regarding parental allowance and explains what they mean in concrete terms for the parents concerned.
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The New Regulations From September 2021
As Elterngeld.de reports, the parental allowance reform 2021 aims to make parental allowance fairer and more partnership-based. Families are to be supported in the best possible way so that they can devote themselves entirely to the birth and upbringing of the child.
From September 1, 2021, new regulations will therefore come into force that will change parental allowance, in some cases significantly. Family Minister Franziska Giffey developed the changes and got them underway. The Bundesrat (upper house of the German parliament) has already approved the proposed changes, so they will apply from September this year.
Among other things, the new provisions relate to earnings limits. These will be lowered significantly. Previously, couples were allowed to earn up to 500,000 euros and still receive parental benefits. This limit will be lowered to 300,000 euros in annual income under the new regulations. For single parents, the figure remains unchanged at an income of up to 250,000 euros. The last completed assessment period before the child was born is used to calculate the parental allowance.
Waiver Of Exclusions Will Be Possible Again In The Future
Exclusions refer to the possibility of not including certain months in the calculation of parental allowance. This makes sense for maternity leave, for example, or if expectant mothers are prohibited from working. This reduces income, which has a negative effect on parental allowance. Accordingly, it makes sense to exclude such months. The same applies to months in which parental allowance is drawn for an older sibling or a pregnancy-related illness had to be cured. Exclusions are intended to prevent the amount of parental allowance from falling due to adverse circumstances.
The option to waive exclusions was no longer available as of 2018. This meant that parents-to-be had to mandatorily factor out the months in which special circumstances existed. This was far from advantageous for everyone. Therefore, with the new parental allowance reform in 2021, it is once again permitted to exclude exclusions. This is particularly interesting for parents with a tight tax bracket change in the assessment period, but also for trainees and students. They must now carefully calculate whether they would not ultimately have more parental allowance in their pockets by waiving exclusions.
Part-Time During Parental Leave
Parental leave and parental allowance are there to enable parents to be completely there for their child during the first months of life. However, they do not serve to keep fathers and mothers away from work and chain them to their homes. People don’t want to have to choose between family and career, but rather achieve the best possible balance. That’s why the 2021 parental allowance reform allows parents to continue working part-time without this having a negative impact on parental allowance.
The reform will allow parents to work up to 32 hours per week in the future, instead of the previous 30 hours, making it easier to combine parental leave and a career. Among other things, this gives them the option of taking a 4-day week. Furthermore, it is possible to take advantage of a partnership bonus. This means that in future parents will be allowed to work 24-32 hours a week in parallel instead of the previous 25-30 hours. In principle, there is a right to this bonus for four months. However, with the new regulations, the bonus can also be used for only two consecutive months.
New Regulations For Premature Births
Premature birth s have special needs and cannot easily be compared with children who are born on the calculated due date. The 2021 parental allowance reform aims to take this fact into account and therefore focuses on the reality of life for premature births. This means that the basic parental allowance will be extended if a child is born significantly too early. If a baby is born 6-16 weeks too early, the basic parental allowance is extended to 13-16 weeks. In order to be able to calculate the corresponding values, the doctor or midwife must issue a certificate of the calculated date of birth.
Mothers are entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave instead of 8 weeks in the event of a premature birth. If there is a premature birth, the entitlement may be 18 weeks, or 4.14 months. Since months cannot be calculated on a pro rata basis, 5 months have already been used up in which there was an entitlement to parental allowance. The new reform provides some flexibility through the extended periods and supports parents with a premature birth in their demanding tasks.
Verification Requirements Will Be Less Stringent
Previously, parents had to provide evidence of their actual working hours and income after the end of the reference period. Under the new conditions, it is no longer mandatory to provide evidence of actual working hours. Some parents nevertheless choose to keep a log of hours and collect evidence of work performed. In principle, the parental allowance office still has the right to demand proof of working hours.
Fewer Months Of Entitlement To ElterngeldPlus
In some cases, parents may only be able to claim their parental allowance at a late stage. This is the case, for example, if parental allowance is only paid after a ban on breastfeeding. In this case, parents are only entitled to 32 months of parental allowance and no longer to 46 months, as was previously the case. However, such a situation is extremely rare. Accordingly, comparatively few parents are affected, so that the advantages of the parental allowance reform 2021 outweigh the disadvantages.
The parental allowance reform 2021 lives up to its claim of bringing benefits and making life easier for families. Parents with premature births in particular will benefit from the new regulations. Accordingly, they do not have to worry about finances on top of the stress they are already under.
In addition, a waiver of exclusions is possible again and the rules for parents working part-time have changed. Bureaucracy is reduced due to the reduced obligations to provide proof, but in return the entitlement to parental allowance is shortened with ElterngeldPlus under certain conditions. Parents should calculate carefully and consider what advantages they will gain from the new parental allowance reform in 2021.